Archive for Sunday, February 22, 2004

KU’s Giddens came out ‘hot’

Freshman drills six three-pointers in first half

February 22, 2004

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One of the 25 writers and broadcasters surrounding J.R. Giddens asked the flashy freshman if he had been "on fire" during the first half of Saturday's Kansas University-Iowa State men's basketball game.

"I think I was a little hot," Giddens said, flashing a big grin.

He was as hot as he has been in college.

Giddens hit six threes in 10 tries as KU rolled to a 41-28 lead. He missed the school record for threes in a half by one; Jeff Boschee canned seven versus Kansas State in 2000.

Giddens' seven threes in a conference game rank second in KU history behind Billy Thomas, who hit eight against Texas in 1998.

"My teammates started giving me the ball," said Giddens, who scored a career-high 24 points in KU's 90-89 overtime win at Allen Fieldhouse. "I'm sure coach didn't have any complaints with my shooting the ball."

Giddens said he resisted any temptation to rub in his performance to ISU's Curtis Stinson, whom Giddens said talked a lot in KU's loss to the Cyclones Jan. 31 in Ames, Iowa.

"I never chitchat out there. That's one thing I don't do," Giddens said.

He had a lot to say about KU blowing a 17-point second-half lead against the Cyclones, who have lost 23 league road games in a row.

Former Kansas assistant coach Matt Doherty works the KU-Iowa State
game. Doherty provided color commentary Saturday for ESPN Regional.

Former Kansas assistant coach Matt Doherty works the KU-Iowa State game. Doherty provided color commentary Saturday for ESPN Regional.

"They kicked our butts (in 18-1 run)," Giddens said. "We were terrible, but then we hit some shots. We got a 'W,' and they have the long bus ride home like we did before.

"For us ... it was big. If we'd have lost this one, they (fans) would have hung us. People say we have been laying down when the going gets tough. Today, the going gets tough, we got going."

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Box-and-one strategy: Iowa State used a box-and-one defense on Giddens during a 25-minute stretch in which Giddens hit two of eight shots and scored six points.

"The box and one stinks when you are the one boxed," he said. "Actually, it doesn't stink because it gets your teammates some space, and Wayne (Simien) can score and show why he's an All-American. Wayne and Keith (Langford) were just great."

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Sullivan gets T: Tempers flared in the second half when ISU's Jake Sullivan was called for traveling.

First, Michael Lee, who forced the travel with good defense, and Sullivan had words. Aaron Miles entered the fray. He and Sullivan jawed in front of each other, perhaps even lightly bumping chests.











"I tried to snatch the ball from him, and he said something to me," Lee said. "After that I just turned my back and walked off, then I guess Aaron said something. Sullivan was kind of mad and responded back to Aaron. Then I looked at him and smiled and he had his choice words for me. The ref caught him and T'd him up."

Sullivan was handed a technical, but it didn't hurt the Cyclones, who ultimately erased a 17-point deficit and led by as many as five before KU's final rally forced overtime.

Of Sullivan, Miles said: "I've got no problem with him. I was just out there ballin'. It's all in the heat of the moment. In an intense game like that, things happen."

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Three-point chatter: Langford on his game-tying three that ultimately forced overtime, a straight-on swish with :28.4 left.

"If I missed, everybody would have been like, 'Damn, why is he shooting it?''' Langford said of fans. "It's one of those things almost like Nebraska (game-winning three his freshman year) to a certain extent. If you make the shot, everybody is happy. If you miss, there's always 101 reasons why you shouldn't have shot it."

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Collison watches most of game: Ex-Jayhawk Nick Collison of the Seattle SuperSonics, who had right shoulder surgery Feb. 13, attended Saturday's game. He had to leave with seven minutes left to catch a flight to Seattle.

"They are struggling a little bit," Collison said of his former teammates in a quick halftime interview, "but they've still got talented guys and some guys who have been through a lot. I think they'll do well the rest of the year. It's good to be here. It's good to see everybody."

Collison, who has had surgery on both shoulders, hopes to return to action in July.

"Hopefully I'll be ready for summer league," he said.

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No headgear: Miles did not wear his trademark headband for the first time in recent memory. "I just decided to go without it," he said. "I decided to not wear it today."

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Stats: Simien had 14 rebounds and has 507 for his career. ... Jeff Graves had a season-high 12 boards. ... KU's last overtime game was a victory over Texas Feb. 11, 2002. ... KU has won 25 straight home games over Big 12 foes. ... Jackson Vroman's 19 rebounds were most since Bryant Reeves of Oklahoma State had 20 in 1995.

Former Kansas standout Nick Collison watches the Iowa State-KU game
from behind the Jayhawks' bench. Collison left the fieldhouse with
seven minutes left to catch a flight to Seattle.

Former Kansas standout Nick Collison watches the Iowa State-KU game from behind the Jayhawks' bench. Collison left the fieldhouse with seven minutes left to catch a flight to Seattle.

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Matt's back: Former North Carolina head coach and KU assistant Matt Doherty worked the game as an analyst for ESPN Regional.

Doherty hadn't seen a game in Allen in four seasons, but did attend a practice last year.

He was asked if he thought the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee would try to match North Carolina and KU or Illinois and KU in an early round postseason game, possibly at Kemper Arena. It'd be a natural for TV with Roy Williams bolting KU for North Carolina last offseason and Bill Self leaving Illinois for KU.

"I don't think the NCAA knows who they've got in the tournament right now," Doherty said, aware a lot can happen between now and Selection Sunday. "I don't think they'd do that. They could have done that to me when I was at North Carolina and matched us in the same bracket as Notre Dame and didn't."

Doherty left Notre Dame after one year for KU.

Doherty, by the way, hasn't spoken with his former boss, Williams, lately.

"Once in a while, not a whole lot," Doherty said. "He's been pretty busy."

J.R. Giddens, the Jayhawks' scoring leader with 24 points, holds
his head and his jersey high following KU's win over Iowa State.

J.R. Giddens, the Jayhawks' scoring leader with 24 points, holds his head and his jersey high following KU's win over Iowa State.

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